Two of the greatest admirals in history, A7XfanBen and Xerecs, have begun planning the grandest adventure of all-time! After playing many campaign games over the years, including four together on the VASSAL module (CG1-4), we have decided to embark on something completely unprecedented, something no one has ever done. Something that is truly on a global scale. A “game to end all games”, if you will. Ironically enough, this game may actually never end!
I couldn’t find the post, but for a few years now I’ve had vague thoughts of creating a complex, all-encompassing “Game of Life” based around Pirates CSG that would be my masterpiece. A game not just about naval warfare, but land warfare, politics, governments, trade, economies, revolutions, civilizations, home fronts, and more. This first, initial post is the beginning of that idea. I mentioned it to Xerecs in one of our MANY emails about CG1, and the idea took off. For a few days in April, planning this “World” game even took our attention away from CG1! I originally thought this “Game of Life” idea would come to fruition in many, many years from now (many decades actually). However, the VASSAL module (thanks again B.J. Olejnik!) has dramatically sped things up, and now my “masterpiece” of a game can see the light of day as soon as this year! Xerecs and I have spent parts of April and especially May developing the ruleset; what you see here represents hundreds of emails and only a chunk of the google doc we are using to collaborate. Ironing out the details has been a very fun and exciting process.
Before I go any further, I’d like to point out two very important things:
-This game was originally scheduled to begin either August or September 2016, but due to our computers being unable to handle the game file, the game has been delayed and put on “permanent hiatus” until further notice.
-There will be opportunities for you to play in this game as well. These will be known as “cameo” (or guest) appearances, and more information is at the bottom of this post.
In terms of the start date, we’ve made a checklist based on all of the things we need to do before starting the game. Without going into too much detail, our schedule is as follows: Establish the base rules that form the World game (post thread by end of May), Flesh out all house rules (June), Edit the module (July), Create the map (August). We are currently on schedule!
The World game is just that, a game based on a map of the world. This is mostly possible through the VASSAL module, since creating an ocean large enough for such a map would require immense amounts of space and time (obviously not to scale, but even so it would have to be a HUGE ocean). With so many real life elements involved, the game is very loosely based on historical concepts, but NOT historical events (there will be no reenactments or reconstructions of history). These concepts form the backbone of many of the rules, and they also explain the need for a ban list for the game. However, it is still a game, so plenty of concepts will be cut out or underrepresented – to save time and effort, and also to focus on Pirates CSG, which is still the game’s core.
With the game file being saved at the end of every play session, this game has no timetable. Xerecs and I are both in our early 20’s, and you can see from our previous campaign game experience that we LOVE Pirates. As a result, this could sort of be “that game” – a game that goes on and on with no end in sight. A “forever-long game”, it could turn into just that. As of now we’re hoping to play for many years, though that could turn into multiple decades. Many things will get in our way, and we may have to put the game aside for months or even years at a time. However, we’ll always be able to return to it and resume playing once more. This also furthers the historical aspects of the game, since playing the game for many decades could represent decades or centuries of history, with the Age of Sail occurring in the general time period of 1500-1850. To put it simply, this thing has a chance to be BIG. Not just in terms of points in play, but in terms of impact and popularity as well. With enough complexity in the ruleset and enough time to play, it could turn into one of the most epic games in the history of gaming (tabletop/boardgaming/videogames/etc).
Without further ado, here is the first draft of our ruleset. It is not a finished product and we will likely have to edit it once the game begins. Feel free to peruse at your leisure!
A HUGE thanks to cannonfury, Sariouriel, captain_vendari, and woelf for creating those! Many parts of this ruleset directly borrows from the others.
Duplicates rule – There cannot be duplicate ships in play until a faction has purchased every single standard ship (including flavor duplicates (such as all three versions of the 5 master HMS Apollo, for example, but not including customs)) available to them. Once a faction has every ship in its fleet in play, that faction can launch duplicates. Only one duplicate ship is allowed; if a faction has two of every ship in play, they can begin a third set of duplicates. However, once a ship is sunk, it MUST be replaced before duplicates can be launched again. (This is also known as the “complete the fleet” rule)
-Named crew must be unique, but once a named crew is eliminated or removed from the game, a DIFFERENT version of that crew can then be purchased as long as they aren’t in play at the same time. This can be done ad infinitum; crew may be called “Thomas Gunn III”, for example.
-After a ship rolls for the resource type and loads resources, the ship will load face-up gold coins that correspond to the numbered resource (for example, a ship with lumber on board would have 1’s). When the ship unloads the resources at the home island, the 1’s (in this case) are swapped out for the value of the resource (IF they are being converted to gold). If the value of lumber was 4, when the ship docks at her HT (home territory), the 1’s come off the ship and face-down gold 4’s appear on the HT, which can then be used to purchase ships and crew.
-Players will NOT be required to pay one gold each turn for every ship not docked at their HI. Why? We want this game to be huge, so anything that slows the game down is getting cut out. I like this concept, since you have to pay the crew and supply them with food and rations, but for this game we can’t afford to be paying gold every turn when there are already going to be a ton of ships being launched all the time. Also, when this game reaches astronomical point totals, it would be extremely annoying to count how many ships each fleet had on their turns.
-Game time is measured in rounds. A round begins with the start of the first player’s turn and ends with the finish of the last player’s turn.
-Unique treasures may be used, but note that due to the nature of some rule changes, they may no longer function as intended.
-No duplicate 10 masters will be allowed at any point during the game. In order to build a 10 master, you must capture a 10 master from another faction in order to get the hull and ship plans (the Jade Rebellion will be the only faction capable of launching a 10 master from the start).
-The Jade Rebellion is the only faction that can have duplicate 10 masters (still following the duplicates rule, and only the Baochuan) (Zheng He first version is linked, then have other crew for future linked admirals)
-Return to Savage Shores game pieces may be used.
-Custom game pieces may be used, as long as they aren’t too overpowered.
-Non-historical factions (Hylia/Gallia/etc) are not available
-Abilities that move enemy ships
-Strange/unfair UT’s (Bad Maps, Blood Money, Cursed Natives, Elizabeth’s Piece of Eight, Eye of Insanity, Gem of Hades/Red Skull, Homing Beacon/Jack’s Compass, Lost, Kharmic Idol/Pirata Codex, Maps of Alexandria/Pirate Globe, Maps of Hades, Necklace of the Sky, Neptune’s Figurehead/Resurrection Codex, Neptune’s Trident, Odin’s Revenge, Poseidon’s Breath, Runes of Destruction/Magic/Odin/Serpent, The Cursed, Voodoo Doll, Jailhouse Dog)
-Certain named crew (Calypso, Captain Davy Jones/Wraith (SS version), Cursed Captain Jack)
-Other completely impossible abilities (fog hoppers, Captain Jack Sparrow (UPS), Davy Jones (DJC), “Spyer” abilities (look at face down stuff on an enemy ship), Eternal, trading treasure, “other ships do not block this ship’s line of fire”, Black Mark, Scorpion/Switchblade/Bombardier/Turbine
-Pandora’s Box: Cannot be used to pull in any of the banned UT’s
-Periscope: Perhaps allow from within S/L, but not anywhere
-Ransom: In addition to the stated rules for Ransom, factions may now bring the Ransom crew back to a territory, port, or fort controlled by the crew’s faction. If the faction can pay, they must pay 100 gold (with gold from that area!); the gold is transferred via a “UT” worth 100 gold to the ship, and the Ransom crew can now be used again by the original faction.
-Ghost Ship: Cannot move through solid obstacles (islands, ships, and icebergs), but can move through fog, sargassos, and reefs
-“Ramming cannot eliminate this ship’s masts”: Changed to “This ship gets +1 to her boarding rolls” (both abilities should cost 2 points, and both refer to the ramming/boarding aspect of the game)
-“You own any derelict this ship explores; both ships become docked at your home island.”: Changed to “This ship gets +1 to her cannon rolls against any ship.”
-”Give this ship a move action but do not move her. Instead, roll a d6. On a result of 5 or 6, move an enemy ship L in any direction.”: Changed to “Captain. Reroll.”
-“Whenever any crew is eliminated, roll a d6; on a result of 6, assign the crew to this ship. Its nationality changes to match the nationality of this ship and it becomes linked to this crew.”: Changed to regular “Possession” ability (“If an enemy ship is within S of this ship, you can use this ship’s action for the turn to try to possess a target crew on that ship. Roll a d6; on a result of 6, the target is immediately assigned to this ship. Its nationality changes to match the nationality of this ship.”)
-“If this ship (sea monster) ends her turn in a fog bank, on her next turn she may use her move action to move out of any other fog bank in play.”: Changed to “This ship ignores terrain, except icebergs, when she is given a move action (islands are not terrain).”
-”Once per turn, this ship may look at any one face-down treasure on any ship or island.” (and variations of): Changed to “Once per turn- if this ship is touching another ship- reveal all treasure aboard the other ship. This ship can take as much unique treasure from the other ship as she can carry- even those that otherwise can’t be removed.”
-Eternal: Changed to “This ship cannot sink, but she can be scuttled.”
-”After looking at treasure on a wild island, you may trade any one treasure from that island for a random treasure on any other wild island. This ship must load the traded treasure.”: Changed to “Once per turn, if this ship carries treasure and is within S of an enemy ship, you may randomly trade one treasure with that ship.”
-“Other ships do not block this ship’s line of fire”: Changed to “You may double the range of this ship’s cannons each turn, but you must roll a 6 to hit.”
-“If a sea monster begins its move within L of this ship, it gets +L to its base move.”: Changed to “This ships gets +L to its base move. This ship cannot be assigned a helmsman.”
-Calypso: Once per turn, give any ship in your fleet +L to it’s base move that action.
-Cursed Captain Jack: Parley. Canceller.
-Captain Jack Sparrow: Captain. Parley.
-Davy Jones (DJC): Changed to OE Davy Jones (All-Powerful)
-All-Powerful: A roll of 6 is effectively a 5 – you may give any ship in your fleet an extra action.
-Any abilities that refer to boarding bonuses against sea monsters are applied to ships instead.
“This ship may dock at an enemy home island and load one treasure. If able, she must leave on your next turn.”
-Ships with this ability (and variations of it that let ships raid home islands) now have an additional ability: “This ship may shoot at ships docked at their home territories.” The ship with the ability does not have to be docked at an opposing HT to use the ability, and HI raiding crew also gain the new ability.
-The Longship keyword no longer gives two shots per mast. To compensate, all longships will cost half of their regular point cost (rounded up), with the following exceptions (point costs subject to change):
Hrunting: 12 points
Naegling: 12 points
Huginn: 11 points
Muninn: 11 points
Asgard: 10 points
Hrothgar: 11 points
Donar: 9 points
Freya: 8 points
Hlidskjalf: 10 points
Elsinore: 10 points
Kalmar: 12 points
Sautez le Requin: 11 points
Baba Yaga: 10 points
Loki’s Revenge: 13 points
Verdani: 11 points
Kettering: 15 points
Icicle: 8 points
Dharma: 8 points
HMS Regent: 10 points
Serpent’s Fang: 10 points
Any potential custom longships will be dealt with on a ship-by-ship basis.
Temporary ban list:
These items will only be allowed after a certain amount of time has passed or a specific milestone is reached.
-”Instead of giving this ship an action this turn, you can give another ship in your fleet two actions.” (Available after the first 100 rounds have passed)
-Native canoes/chieftains (Available after a faction has discovered the New World)
-A faction cannot have more than 4 sets of native canoes (20 total) in play at the same time
-Native canoes may only be launched at military ports. The first set of native canoes that a faction “receives” will be a custom ruling, likely involving bribing the local natives and/or impressing them with a display or riches or firepower.
-Flotillas (TBD; likely not available for multiple years)
-Hoists (TBD; likely not available for multiple years)
-Submarines (TBD; likely not available for MANY years)
-There will be 8 factions starting the game. The order of play will go as follows, but will change occasionally throughout the game:
3. Barbary Corsairs
5. Jade Rebellion
-Fleets start out at 20 points. Each faction also gets one infantry unit to start the game. Factions must keep at least one infantry unit in their home territory at all times. All of the other territories will be “empty” (they will contain unknown resources and gold) at the start of the game. Despite the rules for shipyards, any ship type is allowed for the first starting fleet.
-A custom VASSAL ocean called the “World Map” will be the setting. This ocean will be the largest ocean ever used for a game of Pirates CSG, and will feature a ton of real-world locations, with many of them based on history (especially 1500-1850).
England: Great Britain
Barbary Corsairs: Tripoli (Libya)
Jade Rebellion: Hong Kong (China)
-The Americans and Cursed will not be present at the start of the game. The Mercenaries will be available for hire as privateers, as detailed below.
Resources are the main source of gold production in the game, but must first be converted for a variable price at the home island into treasure coins, which can then be used to purchase ships, crew, equipment, etc.
Resources count as cargo, and abilities that affect treasure coins also affect resources (i.e. each of these coins is worth +1 gold… turns to each of these resources is worth +1 of whichever resource is in question).
The value of a resource is determined by a die roll. At the beginning of the first player’s turn, a d6 and two d6 are rolled. The d6 roll determines the values of all resources (refer to the quick reference for exact values) while the pair of d6 rolls determines the number of turns this value will hold.
Lumber: (1) Fundamental for ship and settlement building, lumber is the basic building block of any naval civilization.
Textiles: (2) Needed for sails and clothing, textiles are a key part of the trading industry.
Metals: (3) Stronger than wood, metals allow for the construction of sturdier ships and deadlier weapons—as well as providing the means for paying for them.
Food: (4) From fish to spices, food is an essential part of every nation’s economy.
Medicine: (5) Derived from various sources, medicines are essential for having a healthy military.
Luxuries: (6) The rare items crews find on their journeys through the world’s seas—from the beautiful to the wild to the truly cryptic.
Specific resource abilities
When 20 or more of these resources are at your home territory OR port, they give you special bonuses. Resource bonuses do not stack. Only one of these abilities can be used at a time. In order to change abilities, the resource in question must be decreased below 20 to select a new one. If these abilities combine with other abilities (such as those from political parties), nothing can ever cost 0 gold. 1 gold is the minimum cost for any purchase.
Lumber: (1) Ships cost 1 less gold than their point cost (point costs don’t change for all other purposes). Shipyard upgrades cost 5 less gold.
(Ships and shipyards both require vast amounts of lumber)
Textiles: (2) Ships cost 1 less gold than their point cost. Gain 1 loyalty per turn.
(Sails are used for the ships, and a great clothing industry keeps the populace happy, especially during winter time)
Metals: (3) Fortress upgrades cost 5 less gold. Army units cost 1 less gold.
(The fortress houses many guns and an armory, and that armory produces guns and swords for the soldiers, hence the lower cost of army units)
Food: (4) Army units cost 1 less gold. Gain 1 loyalty per turn.
(The faction does not have to supply the army with as much rations, and a healthy food market keeps the populace happy)
Medicine: (5) Gain 1 loyalty per turn. If a civil war occurs, the populace is decreased by 25%, rather than 50%.
(A healthy populace, and one that can bear disasters better than the average populace)
Luxuries: (6) Ransom payments can be for 50 gold instead of 100. Named crew cost 1 less gold.
(Thematically luxuries could be swapped for gold (you don’t have to fork over the luxuries during the ransom exchange), and giving named crew different jewelry and valuables could entice them to join your cause)
In regards to that “OR port”, it basically means that if you stockpile 20 or more of a specific resource at a military port, the bonus kicks in IF POSSIBLE. If a military port resource bonus ability says “gain loyalty”, nothing happens because the populace is way back in the HT. However, a military port could benefit greatly from the lumber resource bonus, since ships can be launched at MP’s and each MP will have its own shipyard, upgraded just like the shipyard(s) at a HT.
Theoretically each resource type should account for 16.67% of the territories and islands in the game.
These resource bonuses will not be applied until we are 20 turns into the game:
-If 10% or less of the islands produce the same resource, that resource is worth 1 more gold than usual.
-If 5% or less of the islands produce the same resource, that resource is worth 2 more gold than usual.
-If 50% or more of the islands produce the same resource, that resource is worth 3 less gold than usual (to a minimum of 1).
-If 33% or more of the islands produce the same resource, that resource is worth 2 less gold than usual (to a minimum of 1).
-If 25% or more of the islands produce the same resource, that resource is worth 1 less gold than usual (to a minimum of 1).
-An island’s resource will be represented by one of the tiny dice, which will be turned upright to the corresponding number. (In the VASSAL module, we will use face-up coins.)
-Nations cannot “make change” with their gold or resources.
-Factions are allowed to purchase resources from other factions.
-Certain islands or territories (such as the Moluccas, the famed spice islands) will have predetermined resource types on them.
-Some locations will also contain regular gold, especially locations that were/are historically rich with gold. To minimize potential lag within the module, most of the gold will not be present at the start of the game, but added when ships or troops discover it.
-Random timer idea (for resources changing, weather, etc.): At various points throughout the game, all players may agree to use a random timer for that session. When the timer goes off, roll for resource values as normal. Those values hold until the end of the session, or until the timer goes off again.
-Players may agree to change the resource system. Instead of simply rolling a d6 for values and two d6 for duration, other options may be added for more randomness.
Example: A round of turns begins with the d6 roll. A 1 is rolled (on a 2-6 the resources stay the same, until a 1 is rolled). Since a 1 was rolled, roll again. If the second roll is a 2-6 (anything other than a 1), the resources only change value for that turn. On the next turn, they revert back to whatever they were on the previous round, or a different system is once again agreed upon by all players (such as starting over with regular EE rolls, or using the system described in this example). However, if the second roll is a 1, the current EE rolls are disregarded, and new rolls are made (both for values and duration).
Changing the rules for how resources change could really make things interesting.
Each home territory starts with a level 1 shipyard, tavern, fortress, city, and city hall. These structures may be upgraded, and factions can construct up to 8 shipyards and 4 fortresses on their home territory. Fortresses, taverns, and shipyards must be within L of the coast.
Level 1: 1 masted ships, 2 durability points, 20 gold to upgrade
Level 2: 1-2 masted ships, 4 durability points, 20 gold to upgrade
Level 3: 1-3 masted ships, 6 durability points, 30 gold to upgrade
Level 4: 1-4 masted ships, 8 durability points, 40 gold to upgrade
Level 5: All ships, 10 durability points
The price of a ship is its point cost. When you purchase a ship, place only its hull at the shipyard. During each of your turns, that ship may be given build actions (only) to place masts until it’s been fully constructed. Shipyards can only build one ship at a time. Ships under construction can be shot at, but not rammed or boarded. If the port or shipyard where a ship is being constructed is destroyed, construction immediately halts and the ship may be given actions as though construction were complete.
-Each additional HT shipyard costs 50 gold
-Factions can have more than 4 HT shipyards (max of 8?)
-Crew cannot board a ship until it has been fully launched.
Level 1: Generic crew and equipment, 2 durability points, 20 gold to upgrade
Level 2: All crew (named crew, generic crew, and equipment), 6 durability points
Level 1: 4x4L cannons, 4 durability points, 20 gold to upgrade
Level 2: 4x3L cannons, 6 durability points, 20 gold to upgrade
Level 3: 6x3L cannons, 10 durability points
-Each faction has a “city” similar to their other structures. The faction’s city represents its populace. Factions start at level 0, and each upgrade costs 50 gold.
Level 1: Add 3 to populace at the beginning of each turn.
Level 2: Add 5 to populace at the beginning of each turn.
Level 3: Add 10 to populace at the beginning of each turn.
Level 4: Add 15 to populace at the beginning of each turn.
Level 5: Add 20 to populace at the beginning of each turn.
See rules for “Government” underneath Updated/New Mechanics; City Halls cannot be upgraded.
An island upgrade is bought at the home island; a token representing that upgrade and 10 gold used to pay for it can be loaded onto any ship(s); the token fills one cargo space. That ship must return to the previously explored island and may unload the token and 10 gold as a free action. The island is immediately upgraded, but it cannot function normally until the following turn (similar to forts). If a ship is sunk on transit, the token is lost and another must be purchased.
-Settlement: Automatically created after an explore action. Abilities that remove explore actions can eliminate settlements. Settlements simply mark that this island has been explored by the player; enemy settlements may exist on the same island.
-Fort: A settlement may be upgraded to a fort per the normal fort rules. A fort generates no resources. Generic crew may be hired at this island. Resources can be unloaded at a fort, but they cannot be converted. Forts must be hit twice in the same turn to eliminate one of their flags.
-Colony: A settlement may be upgraded to a colony by paying 10 gold. Abilities that remove explore actions do not eliminate colonies. Having a colony on an island gives control of that island to a player; other players may no longer take resources from that island. Colonies can be razed by enemy ships, they have no natural defenses and after three hits are considered destroyed. A colony may also be captured through a boarding action. Once destroyed, the island becomes unexplored in regards to all players, and its resource value may be reset.
-Port: A colony may be upgraded to a port. Players have a choice between either a trading or a military port; an island can only accommodate one. When upgrading to a port, that faction must bring the upgrade token to the colony in addition to 10 of the gold they used to purchase the upgrade. The 10 gold is removed from play when the token is unloaded at the island as a free action.
1) Trading Port (30 gold): Allows a player to trade any one resource for one other resource, of any type. An opposing player’s ship may also dock at your trading port to trade commodities, but they must pay one resource to the owner in addition to the resource(s) being traded. Ships with the Parley keyword do not have to pay this fee. A trading port can be blockaded by any ship. A trading port has 10 durability points; the 10th hit will eliminate it. Trading ports may be given repair actions – if so, no resources can be exchanged that turn. A trading port may use one lumber to repair itself, in which case resources can be exchanged that turn.
2) Military Port (100 gold): Allows a player to repair ships docked at this island as if it were a home island. Crew and ships may be purchased at a military port using gold from the port. A military port can hold resources and gold. A military port generates no resources. A military port cannot be blockaded, and acts as an eight flag fort with 3L cannons. These cannons must be hit twice in the same turn to be eliminated. In terms of purchasing ships and crew, a military port starts with a level 1 shipyard and tavern. The shipyard can be upgraded the same as home territory shipyards, but the tavern cannot (no named crew hired at military ports).
-In addition to the gold cost of island upgrades, when a colony upgrade is purchased, the populace decreases by 2 (to represent people leaving the HT). When a port upgrade is purchased, the populace decreases by 5.
-An island can only have one upgrade on it at a time.
-Upgrades must happen sequentially – factions cannot upgrade from a settlement to a port in one turn. This applies to HT upgrades as well – factions must upgrade their structures one level at a time.
1. In the map of the world, territories will be placed based on the Risk game board. When the map is finalized, some territories will be replaced by others and some will be split into multiple territories (it will be a custom Risk map). In addition to the main group of territories, there will also be MANY islands. These islands (not territories, so therefore essentially irrelevant to the Risk part of the game) function as wild islands, but they can have units from Risk placed on them. Due to space constraints, some locations will be absent or underrepresented.
2. All of the non-HT territories that are bordered by only water will start the game as wild islands, unless chosen as a home territory by a faction. These territories follow the normal rules for wild islands. All of the territories except for the home territories in the game will start as “wild”. This means that resources and gold can be acquired over land by armies.
3. Each faction has a home territory. The territory chosen as a home territory must be bordered by a body of water, and the territory chosen can be bordered by water on all sides (obviously that particular territory would not start the game as a wild island). Home territories can be conquered, but a faction is not automatically eliminated if their home territory is taken over by an opponent.
4. When invading an enemy territory across water or reinforcing a friendly territory across water, the army units must be transported by ships. The lines that connect territories on the Risk game board are totally irrelevant – armies cannot invade across water unless they are transported in ships. That being said, ships have no limits on where they can transport army units. Ex: Normally you can invade Iceland from Great Britain via the line connecting the territories, and you can still do that (as long as the units are transported in ships). However, movement across the seas is not limited to the lines: a fleet can transport an army going from Great Britain directly across the Atlantic to the Eastern United States, or from Madagascar all the way up to Alaska.
5. Invasions follow the standard rules for Risk, and combat due to an invasion happens as soon as the units disembark from the ships. In order to land the troops on the territory, an explore action is needed, unless the territory is friendly and/or has been invaded before (home territories do not require an explore action to land troops there if it is the landing player’s home territory).
6. Risk units cost 3 gold each (or 3 points). This may be adjusted during the game if needed. For the purposes of abilities and effects, army units are considered ‘crew’ when on board a ship, even though they have no abilities. However, they do not count against the ship’s point cost. When a ship loads army units, they take up one cargo space per unit. They can be loaded and unloaded like normal crew with the following exception: An explore action is required in order to load or unload army units. For flavor purposes, one unit represents 1,000 troops.
7. Ships can fire on army units on land (following the regular procedure for a shoot action) if the units are within S of the ocean. The number of hits needed on the same turn to eliminate a unit is the same as the number of units the piece represents (infantry=1 unit, 1 hit needed to eliminate, cavalry=5 units, 5 hits to eliminate, artillery=10 units, 10 hits in one turn to eliminate). This is a way to incentivize saving up for artillery, which became more important in land warfare as the years went on. Infantry and cavalry units cannot fire back; however, if a ship misses an individual unit three times in a row in a particular shoot action, she loses a mast. Artillery units (representing 10 army units) can function as a 2L cannon for coastal defence. If an artillery unit is given a shoot action to shoot at a ship, it cannot be given a move action that turn. Ships cannot shoot over an island representing a territory to hit a territory beyond, no matter what range her guns are.
8. In addition to the regular rules for forts, the rules for forts regarding land attacks are as follows: Army units can attack forts from land, in this way they must have already invaded the territory. A fort’s flags represent its defenses (a four flag fort functions as four army units). The rules for combat work the same, with the exception that due to the fortifications, the defender can roll up to three dice. The fort can contain army units of that particular faction, as a means of protecting them. The fort serves as the last line of defence if placed on a territory bordered by land. If a fort is to be built on a territory that is bordered by land, the territory must also be bordered by water. (These rules also apply to trading ports and military ports.)
9. There are three custom forts that I have designed for the game – forts that were key strategic points in real-life campaigns. These forts are stationary. They cannot be placed on any territory/island and rebuilt on other territories/islands later in the game. Other than that, they function as regular forts. Once the ocean is created, their stats and abilities may need adjusting. In addition, more stationary historical forts may be created.
Gibraltar (Gibraltar, located on the southern tip of Spain)
72 gold (6 times the original cost of 12 gold)
10 guns: 3S, 2L, 2L, 2L, 2L, 2L, 2L, 2L, 2L, 3S
When this fort hits an enemy ship, you choose which mast is eliminated. Once per turn you may double the range of ONE of this fort’s cannons.
Diamond Rock (off the southern coast of Martinique)
2 guns: 2L, 2L
El Morro (Havana, Cuba)
8 guns: 3S, 2S, 2L, 3L, 3L, 2L, 2S, 3S
This fort’s L-range guns cannot be eliminated.
10. Unlike the regular rules for Risk, territories can be abandoned. However, a faction cannot abandon their home territory under any circumstances. They can move most of their units and/or ships and gold to another territory to avoid being annihilated, but they cannot abandon their home territory.
11. When moving army units, each individual unit can only move from one territory to another once per turn. If units are part of a successful invasion, they cannot immediately move onto the next territory and invade it as well. Units can only move into one territory at a time (once per turn) even if the territories they are moving through are abandoned. When fortifying their position, a player can only move from one territory to an adjacent territory.
When army units move to acquire gold or resources, each unit has one cargo space (ex: three army units moving together can carry up to three lumber). When carrying resources/gold, army units cannot attack, but they can defend as normal.
12. There are no reinforcements from the number of territories or continents a player controls. Since players are supposed to pay for their armies, there will be no free reinforcements – players cannot bypass the cost of army units.
13. No cards from Risk are being used. There will be no reinforcements.
14. Each faction gets 10 free army units for home territory defense ONLY. These units cannot be removed from the HT, and are not represented on the map because they are part of the populace. They can only be used if another faction invades their HT.
-Army units cannot move into a territory and explore it in the same turn. They must be given an explore action.
-For each faction’s army units, only every other territory can produce resources. (this may change)
-Similar to the RISK rules for army unit movement, crew and politicians can move across land. A move action can be used to move through one adjacent territory at a time. Equipment can be carried by army units; one piece of equipment takes up one cargo space.
-Mercenary army units can be hired at military ports for twice the usual cost of army units. (faction bonuses/minuses at the HT do not apply – Mercenary army units always cost 6 gold per unit)
-Factions can hire Mercenary army units at enemy HT’s. The gold used to pay for the units is removed from the game, not paid to the faction whose HT is in question.
-Explore Actions: An explore action at a wild island takes an action, as usual. When a wild island is explored for the first time, the player that performed the action rolls a d6—match the result to the number of the corresponding resource. That island now produces that resource for all players, and you may load tokens of that resource onto the ship up to its cargo limit; each token fills one cargo space. Abilities that remove exploration markers may reset the resource of an island.
-Repair Actions: Repair actions occur normally, with the exception that a ship carrying both lumber and textiles may repair a mast at a wild island, per the shipwright rules; these resources are used in the process. Also, a shipwright stationed at a fort or military port may use the fort’s action for the turn to repair one cannon per turn.
-Combat Actions: Combat actions occur normally, although boarding actions have received updates and new actions, blockading and razing, have been created.
-Boarding: after a successful boarding action, the winning ship may, in addition to taking gold or killing crew, take up to three resources, of any type, up to their maximum cargo space. A colony is considered to have 2 masts in a boarding roll, and is captured by the winning ship. If a ship loses a boarding roll against a colony, the attacking ship must remove a mast and move S away.
-Blockading: A trading port can be blockaded by a ship. If a ship docks at a trading port and declares hostilities, that port is considered to be blockaded; all trading ceases and the player loses all bonuses, including the production of commodities. The blockading player gains the resource bonuses, and can choose to take resources up to their cargo limit or remove them from the game.
-Military ports and HT’s can be blockaded, which results in the blockaded faction losing any resource bonus abilities they had until the blockade ends.
-Razing: A trading port can be razed with a boarding action; it is considered to be a 5 mast ship. If the boarding ship wins, the trading port is removed from the game, and the boarding ship receives all the resources available, up to that ship’s cargo limit. If the trading port wins, the opposing player takes that ship, but all crew on board are removed from the game. (Military ports cannot be razed)
-Raiding: A ship with the home-island raiding ability can dock at an enemy home island and take as many resources as she can carry, in addition to any gold. If able, she must leave on her next turn.
-Privateering: Once a trading port has been established, Mercenaries may be hired by the major nations as privateers. The ship or crew is bought for gold worth its build cost at the trading port, with gold in the trading port paying for the cost. The ship comes into play immediately at that island; it is considered a member of your nation for all purposes except that once it docks at the home territory, a military port, or a trading port, it is removed from play, along with any crew of the same nationality aboard. It may be hired again once it has been removed from play for the same cost. If a Mercenary ship sinks, that player cannot rehire that ship until a different player has hired the ship and it sinks as well.
Taxes and Loyalty
-Factions can levy a tax on their populace. Each faction’s populace is based on their city and how many political parties exist in their city hall. For flavor purposes, each number or “unit” of the populace represents 10,000 civilians (ie. a faction with a populace of 1,000 represents a country of 10 million people).
-The number of the tax rate is the amount of gold (up to 6) that faction receives at its home territory at the beginning of each turn.
-The tax rate can only move up or down by 1 gold at a time.
-When a faction declares a new tax rate, that tax rate must remain constant for 5 turns.
-A faction’s loyalty (of their armed forces and populace) can rise and drop. This is based on the tax rate and other factors. When taxes are raised or lowered, the corresponding drop or increase in loyalty occurs over the course of 5 turns. Loyalty cannot drop below 0 or rise above 100.
-Factions can only tax their populace if it is greater than 200.
-Once all factions have a populace of at least 200, each faction must have a populace of at least 500 to levy a tax.
-If the populace falls to 0, there cannot be taxes, and army units and crew cannot be hired.
-If a faction’s loyalty is between 60-79, that faction can add 1 to their populace per turn.
-If a faction’s loyalty is 80-99, that faction can hire crew for 1 less gold.
-If a faction’s loyalty is 100, that faction can add 2 to their populace each turn. Army units cost 1 less gold.
These effects do not stack, and occur at the beginning of the faction’s turn.
The chart below illustrates how loyalty changes with the tax rate. If the tax rate is at 6 for 10 consecutive turns, desertion will occur. 5 units desert per turn starting on the 11th turn of the 6 gold tax rate. If they go into the negative they have to pay for the units until they have a zero balance, after which they can once again purchase army units.
If a faction’s loyalty drops to 0, roll a d6. On a 1-2, there is a civil war. On a 3-4, there is a revolution. On a 5-6, there is a government overthrow.
-The faction crumbles into a civil war between the opposing parties involved. The faction’s populace is cut in half. Divide the faction’s home territory into two areas. Each half gets half of the army units present in the home territory. On the faction’s next turn, the civil war begins. The two sides square off in battle, following the regular RISK combat rules. Battles continue until one side is victorious, ending the civil war. While the civil war is being fought, any ships within L of the home territory fire upon formerly friendly vessels.
-The current political party and its supporters in the populace face a revolution by the opposing party. If there are over 50 army units in the HT, the rebellion is quelled and nothing happens. If not, the current political party is eliminated along with their leader. The faction must now function without a government (see below) for 2 turns, after which time another election can be held.
-Eliminate the entire political party currently in control of the faction. Replace that party with a new party and leader, following the rules for elections (hold one election between the two parties next in line). The tax rate is decreased to 0 and cannot be raised for 10 turns. The loyalty is increased to 100 and can decrease from there.
If the eliminated party is the last party in the city hall, the faction must now function without a government until a new one is hired or planted. In that case, there cannot be taxes, but the faction also cannot buy army units or ships at their home territory.
Each faction will have a city hall, where their government resides. There is no limit to how many different political parties a faction has in its city hall. However, each political party introduced after the initial number results in a loss of 5 loyalty. In addition, each political party introduced after the initial parties adds 20 to the populace.
Each political party will have a leader. This leader will be represented by a crew, and will function similar to regular crew. The politicians will have specific abilities pertaining to their strengths and weaknesses. Most politicians will have abilities that can ONLY be used while in the faction’s HT, but some will have abilities that function while at sea. Land abilities cannot be used while at sea, and sea abilities cannot be used while on land.
Each faction will begin the game with one party in power. This party will be detrimental to the faction’s success and will have negative abilities. This incentivizes the factions to begin introducing political parties. To keep things fair, all factions will begin the game with the same “negative” government. The party’s ability says “lose 1 loyalty per turn”.
To introduce a political party, a faction must hire that party’s leader for a gold cost. This brings that political party into play; they and their leader are placed in the city hall. Once in the city hall, they can begin participating in political elections.
Once every five turns, a faction can have their city hall host an election. Select two political parties and roll a d6 for both of them. The party with the higher result either advances in the governmental system (similar to a tournament bracket) or becomes the leader of the faction (if it was a final election). If a new party comes to power, their abilities and the abilities of their leader come into play and replace the abilities of the old party. Political parties and leaders can only use their abilities when they are in power. If a final election is held when the loyalty is 80 or higher, the party in power gets +2 to its die roll in the election. There can also be elections within parties, to determine which candidate of a party becomes the leader of that party. If a faction has 4 or more parties in their city hall, elections can happen every 3 turns. If a faction has 8 or more parties in their city hall, elections can happen every 2 turns.
Political parties and their abilities:
-These will be the abilities of each political party, which only activate when the party is in power. Political leaders will have their own individual abilities.
Land party: Favors land warfare and expansion.
-Army units have a base cost of 2 (instead of 3). Ships’ point costs are doubled.
Sea party: Favors naval warfare and expansion.
-Army units have a base cost of 5. Captains and helmsmen only cost 1 gold each.
Home territory party: Favors building up the HT through upgrades and a strong home army, as well as a large populace.
-All home territory upgrades cost 10 less gold than usual.
Exploratory party: Favors exploring every corner of the world, at any cost.
-Army units have a base cost of 4. Three explorers can be hired for just 1 gold. Helmsmen cost 1 gold.
Imperial party: Favors aggressive colonial expansion, and declares war on other factions often.
-The cost of island upgrades are cut in half. Every 5 turns, declare war on a faction.
Colonial party: Favors having as many colonies as possible, and having strong upgrades on them such as ports and high-level shipyards.
-The cost of island upgrades are cut in half. Decrease the populace by 2 each turn.
People’s party: Favors increasing the populace, having very low or no taxes, and preserving the safety of the home territory.
-City upgrades cost 25 gold (instead of 50). The tax rate cannot exceed 2 gold. Island upgrades cost twice their normal amount.
Religious party: Favors going to war with specific factions whose religion conflicts with their own.
-Assign a number to each faction. Use a random number generator to choose a faction. Declare war on that faction. Pursue peace treaties and armistices with all other wars.
Upgrade party: Favors upgrading all structures, including those on colonies, before building up the army and navy.
-Halve the cost of all upgrades. Double the costs of ships and army units.
Trade party: Favors resources over gold, and pursues profitable commercial relationships with other factions.
-Halve the value of all gold unloaded at the home territory. Halve the cost of trading ports. Pursue commercial alliances with the factions you can profit most from.
Gold party: Favors gold above all else, including resources and actually spending that gold.
-Double the value of all gold unloaded at the home territory. Halve the value of all resources unloaded at the home territory. Cannot spend more than 20 gold per turn.
Power party: Favors an absolute monarchy/dictatorial state. Works to eliminate other political parties from contention. Potentially high taxes but a very clear sense of purpose. (centralized decision making)
-Hire political assassins to eliminate other parties from the city hall. When this political party comes into power, roll a d6. On a 1-3, loyalty drops by 20 immediately. On a 4-6, loyalty does not drop when taxes are increased. Cannot issue bonds.
Resource party: Favors collecting a specific resource, depending on the leader’s preference.
-Roll a d6. The result is the resource type that now doubles in value for this faction only.
Region Party: Favors having absolute control of a specific area (ex: the Mediterranean, Russia, etc)
Abilities: Roll two d6 and add their results. This number is the particular region the party is trying to control (refer to chart). Generally the higher the number, the more difficult it will be to control the region. There will be benefits for establishing and maintaining control of a region when the Region Party is in power.
-The cost of military ports are halved in the specific region. Any ships and army units not in the specific area get -1 to their cannon and combat rolls (only).
There will likely be other parties as well.
-Once every 10 turns, a faction can plant a political party and leader inside the city hall of another faction. This can be used to help that faction, or to hurt them. The leaders of these planted parties can have secret abilities known only to the player who planted them. The player must reveal the secret ability when they intend to use it. This is a way to simulate assassinations, though other possibilities exist as well. (Example of a secret ability: Select a political leader in this city hall. Roll a d6. On a 4-6, eliminate that leader from the game.)
-Sometimes there will be a frontrunner in the political race. That party will get to double its election rolls, but will disappoint the populace and therefore have subpar abilities. On the other hand, a party may have its rolls halved for elections, but might have very worthwhile abilities.
There will be a trade-off between loyalty, populace level, taxes, and long-term agendas. More political parties mean less loyalty, but a higher populace could give a faction the ability to tax. Introducing more political parties also increases how many elections there can be, but that can lead to high turnover in terms of government, which can hinder a faction’s overall progress.
Factions can issue bonds to receive money from their populace.
-Bonds are an immediate influx of gold.
-A faction can receive a maximum bond value of 10% of their total populace (ex: a faction with a populace of 1,000 cannot receive a bond worth more than 100 gold)
-Factions must repay the value of the bond plus interest. Interest is paid at the end of the period.
-The minimum period of a bond is 10 turns. There is no maximum period.
-The interest rate is tied to the period. A 10 turn bond has a 10% interest rate. 10 turns after issuing the bond, a faction must pay 110 gold back to the populace by eliminating the gold from their home territory (following the 100 gold example).
-Factions are not required to issue maximum value bonds; they can receive gold equal to less than 10% of their populace value, but never more than 10%.
-Only one series of bonds may be issued at a time. More bonds cannot be issued until the current ones are paid off.
-If bonds are not paid back, loyalty drops by the amount that isn’t repaid.
Example: A faction has a populace of 1,186. The maximum amount they can get for their bonds is 119 gold. However, they don’t think they can pay back 131 gold in 10 turns, so they opt to receive 80 gold, with a 15 turn period. In 15 turns, they pay 92 gold back to their populace. If they can only pay most of the bond payment (70 gold), loyalty drops by 22.
Rumors and Missions
Named crew (only) may try to acquire rumors or missions, which may help them or their nation. Rumors are usually more esoteric or selfish in nature, while missions are more obvious and “patriotic”.
-Rumors may only be obtained while docked at another faction’s settlement or trading port (not colonies).
-Missions may only be obtained while docked at the fort or military port of the ship’s faction.
To acquire a rumor or mission, roll two d6. Add the results, and compare it to the point cost of the most expensive named crew on the ship. If the sum of the dice is lower than the point cost, that named crew has been successful. Place a Unique Treasure representing the rumor or mission on the ship’s deckplate. Rumors and missions are kept face down, but they do not take up cargo space. Rumors may be stolen as regular “treasure”, but missions cannot be stolen by any means. If a ship with a mission is captured or sunk, the mission is eliminated. If the named crew is eliminated, the rumor is eliminated as well. (Rumors are tied to their named crew; missions are tied to the crew and the ship.) News of a successful mission must be brought back to the home territory to get rewarded, while rumors have distinct success/failure conditions.
-There will be a neutral merchant ship that sails around once in awhile. This ship will be a 4 masted ship with L speed and 8 cargo spaces. All 8 cargo spaces will be filled up with one resource type. Ships can engage this merchant ship to trade goods on a 1:1 basis. The merchant ship cannot shoot or be shot at. Once all of the original resources are gone, the merchant ship leaves the game, but may reappear again.
-There are no victory conditions. This game is not expected to end.
-All ships must be hit twice in the same turn to eliminate one of their masts. This ability also applies to ships such as El Acorazado, whose ability now reads “four hits in the same turn are required to eliminate one of this ship’s masts” (not necessarily the same shoot action). In some of the larger battles, this may become difficult to keep track of, in which case we will use the “same shoot action” rather than the “per turn” ruling.
-Ships cannot do damage by ramming.
-When a ship wins a boarding party, the winner decides whether they will take gold/resources or eliminate crew. The winner chooses which gold/resources to take, but the loser chooses which crew is eliminated.
-Marines are now a generic crew. They cost 5 points, and simply have the Marine keyword. Named marines cost the same as usual, but they get two shots per shoot action instead of one. Since generic marines are generic crew, they are subject to the no-stacking rule. However, named marines work the same as normal – they can stack. If multiple generic marines are present on the same island or territory, they can all be given shoot actions.
-Forts now cost 6 times their normal gold cost, with the exception of Paradis de la Mer, which costs 30 gold.
-When an enemy ship comes within range of a fort’s guns, that fort may fire ONE cannon.
-Forts can now be set on fire.
The rules for flaming forts will work like this: instead of the fort rolling for each fire every turn, it rolls one die regardless of how many fire masts it has and regardless of whether the fort is given an action during the turn. The roll follows the regular rules for fire masts. The fort will be automatically destroyed if the fire consumes all 8 areas (not how many guns the fort has). A shipwright can only put out one fire per turn, but no flag is raised in the fire’s place until another repair action is given.
-Incentivize captures – possibly an answer to the problem of sinking ships (ships sink more in Pirates CSG games than they did in real life combat). When a ship is captured, that faction can “rechristen” the ship as one of that nation’s ships instead once the captured ship is fully repaired, and pays the difference in gold cost. Ships exchanged in this manner MUST be of the same ship type. Factions do not get any kind of gold or resource bonus if the captured ship is worth more than the ship they are converting it to. If brought back to a shipyard that is not an adequate level (for example, bringing a captured 4 master back to a level 3 shipyard), the faction must upgrade the shipyard in order to rechristen the ship. (The normal rules for capturing ships still apply, and therefore it may be more advantageous to not use this rule and simply keep the captured ship and change it’s nationality flag.)
Very simple example: the Pirates capture the Couer de Lion from the French, tow her back to their home territory (or a military port where they can legally launch ships from), repair her, and “exchange” her (simply editing the stats) for the Banshee’s Cry by paying 1 gold for the cost differential.
-Factions can transport lumber for use as fire beacons, using the army unit and land movement rules. This is a means of communicating over great distances. One lumber resource is needed for each beacon. To make an effective chain of fire beacons, it would have to be a consecutive line through territories (one lumber needed per territory, and the territories need to share a boundary line). As a free action, army units from ANY faction can burn a beacon if they are in that territory. This will set off all other beacons that can be lit in the chain, at the rate of 2 beacons per turn. Any faction can also take the lumber resource as normal.
Storm terrain will occasionally be used.
If any part of a ship touches a storm, place that game piece inside the storm; they are lost. Roll a d6. If the result is lower than the number of masts, segments, or flags on the game piece, eliminate one mast, segment or flag from that game piece. For game pieces with one mast remaining, treat a roll of 1 as a roll of 0. Ships exit storms by giving them a move action for their turn, and rolling a d6. Place the ship on her stern facing outward on the number rolled. (Moving out requires the full action, unlike fog banks.)
-It is possible there will be seasons (which mimic real life) where more storms are present than usual. Hurricanes may be introduced.
Letter of Marque
Point Cost: 5
This ship may shoot at ships docked at their home territories.
Point Cost: 5
Reveal this event when within S of an enemy ship. The two ships involved cannot shoot at each other this round (including next round if needed). Specify a named crew on the opposing ship, and one on this ship. Roll a d6 for each crew and add the results to the crew’s point costs. The crew that rolled lowest is eliminated from the game. Eliminate Dueling Pistols from the game.
Point Cost: 10
Reveal this event when within S of an enemy ship. Specify a named crew on the opposing ship; that crew is now assigned to this ship, but doesn’t take up cargo space, doesn’t count against the point limit of this ship, and cannot use its abilities. The opposing ship now gets a free shoot action, after which this ship can move L away. Eliminate Trick Duel from the game.
(Thematically: The captain or crew in question rows over to the other ship with a few members of his crew. These less important crew are quickly dispatched, and the key figure is taken hostage.)
Currently unknown house rules:
These are house rules that are either currently unknown, or are known only to the players playing the game. As a result, some of them will be left deliberately ambiguous.
-The chart for resource values and types may change.
-There will be custom UT’s with special rules.
-Factions must meet at sea or on land in order to exchange information. The players of the game cannot simply speak to one another or send messages through the module chat.
Nations can engage in quests. These are purposely ambiguous and subject to change. The nations do not know of the specific quests at the outset of the game. Only through certain means can they come to fruition. There may be various types of rewards for completing quests.
-Finding the New World
Useful abbreviations and wordings
-Faction/nation/fleet/etc all mean the same thing.
WMG=World Map Game
CG=campaign game (the C can also stand for cumulative, but that’s generally a more basic campaign game with a less complicated ruleset, such as CG1 and CG2)
Certain abilities will also be simplified:
SAT=Same Action Twice
Canceller=“Once per turn, one crew or ship within S of this ship cannot use its ability this turn.”
HI raider=home island raider (effectively a “home territory raider” for this game)
As mentioned earlier, you can join this game! However, before doing so, we ask that you get comfortable with the Pirates module (helpful thread here), and get to know this ruleset pretty well. We realize that these are large barriers to entry, and we’re not expecting frequent or consistent guests, especially considering all of life’s numerous time obligations. As evidenced by CG2 (a VASSAL campaign game with three players), playing a campaign game with more than two players remotely is not easy. We still encourage anyone who is interested to participate. Guest appearances would likely consist of one or both of us relinquishing control of at least one of our factions for a specified period of time; this could be as short as one turn, to as long as a month or more. It all depends on your availability, aptitude, and passion/interest level. One of our favorite things to think about in terms of these “cameos” is how it simulates changing leadership, which is obviously one of the keys to history. Just let us know and we’ll fit you in!
Thanks for reading!